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Norrie strikes in third, Queens blank Broncos for ACAC gold

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Brent Forster – Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics

After a six year hiatus, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens are back on top of Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women’s Hockey. A third period goal from first-year forward Dylan Norrie turned out to be the game winner as the RDP Queens earned their fourth ACAC gold medal with a 1-0 win. The Queens swept the Olds College Broncos in the best-of-five final.

“We have been talking all season and we’ve worked so hard for this,” said first-year forward Norrie. “We wanted it to win it for each other. For me, I’m just so pumped that we got to win it for Cam Wallan and Mary Hirsch in their last season.”

Queens goaltender Tanya Disotell-Dunsmore and Broncos netminder Cienna Kinghorn were unbeatable over 45 minutes. The home team finally broke the stalemate at 14:12 of the third period. Norrie, who is from Olds, carried the puck into the Broncos’ zone, got Kinghorn moving to her left, and found space high on the blocker side.

“I remember going down the ice, then I saw that their d-man was right in front of me – we’ve mentioned all series that we had to shoot high on their goalie,” said Norrie, a Bachelor of Education Secondary student. “I used their d-man in front of me and whipped it top corner on her right side. I just had a feeling that I was going to score. We needed it.”

Wallan (21), Norrie (17), Skripichayko (6)

Norrie was named the North Star Sports Queens Player of the Game.

“I thought she had a very good game. We had a practice last week and we said that we had to work on shooting up top on Cienna,” said Kelly Coulter, Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Hockey Head Coach. “It was a great shot by Dylan and a great effort. Happy for her. She’s worked hard the past two weeks to make sure that she’s making an impact in the games.”

Broncos Head Coach Chris Leeming pulled Kinghorn for the extra skater with about two minutes remaining in the contest. Olds College made a strong push at the end. With the Broncos crashing the net and Disotell-Dunsmore seemingly out of the play, the Queens first-year netminder made a huge blocker save to keep the visitors off the scoreboard, sealing a 1-0 victory.

Disotell-Dunsmore (33)

“I think she has been fantastic, as have the other two goalies, Madison [Fox] and Izzy [Palumbo], as well,” added Coulter. “It’s just something that we’ve been blessed with this year, with outstanding goaltending and timely saves.”

Disotell-Dunsmore earned the 14 save shutout. The Queens’ ability to lockdown games became their trademark and a big reason for their success.

“It seems to to be our M.O. all year, and as a coach that’s something I preach anyway, so it seems the way it started and the way it finished for us,” said Coulter.

First-year defender Kiera Mulder (5)

Kinghorn turned aside 15-of-16.

The last time the Queens won ACAC gold was in the 2015/2016 season, Coulter’s first year as the head coach of the RDP Queens. That team was filled with veterans.

“That group that won in 2015/2016 was a group of fantastic players,” he said. “A lot of those players I inherited and had to create a relationship with.”

The 2021/2022 Queens are nearly the polar opposite with 18 first-years and five second-years on the roster.

“This group, I recruited every single one of them. It’s a little bit special that way, that the relationship has been forged with some of them for five years now – with Cam and four years with Mary,” said Coulter. “This first-year group worked really hard and to me, hard work equals success, and that’s what they did all year. It’s a great group.”

Reegan Broadbent received the top player award for the Broncos. The Queens went 0-for-2 on the power play. The Broncos couldn’t score on three opportunities.

The Olds College Broncos earned ACAC silver and the NAIT Ooks picked up bronze.

The RDP Queens will have another strong team next year with only veterans Wallan and Hirsch planning to graduate from the Queens Hockey program.

“The vast majority are back. We’ve only added five players to our squad,” added Coulter. “We should have the majority of them returning which is nice for the first time in my career here. It’s just adding those new girls in and continuing what we do.”

Jailyn Bablitz (8)

RDPolytech Athletics

Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics announces Harrison as Queens Basketball Head Coach

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Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics has named Avery Harrison the new head coach of the Queens Basketball program.

“We are extremely excited to add Avery to the Red Deer Polytechnic coaching staff. He brings decades of experience, a proven championship mindset, and the ability to harness the potential in each student-athlete,” says Randy Stewart, Manager Athletics and Student Life. “In addition to being an excellent coach and mentor, Avery has the innate ability to develop a winning culture and to be successful at the highest level.”

The five-time Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year has helped to guide his teams to five ACAC Championships and three Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) titles over 23 years as a head coach in the league. Harrison has led his teams to the national championships 10 times, which is the most for an ACAC Women’s Basketball Head Coach. Harrison was also an ACAC Assistant Coach for 11 years.

In this role, Harrison worked with legendary SAIT Trojans Head Coach Phil Allen, who is an ACAC Hall of Fame Coach and a member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, and a major influence on Harrison’s coaching career. Together, they led the Trojans to four ACAC Championships and one CCAA gold medal.

Harrison has had post-secondary coaching stints at Mount Royal College, Lethbridge College, SAIT, and most recently at Olds College from 2017 to 2020. During his tenure in Olds, Harrison built the Broncos into both ACAC and CCAA Champions in 2019.

With Harrison’s leadership, 46 of his players have earned spots on ACAC All-Conference teams and 12 student-athletes have been recognized as All-Canadians.

Harrison is looking forward to coaching and sharing his expertise with the Queens, who qualified for last year’s playoffs for the first time since 2009/2010.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to join the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Basketball program as their new head coach,” he says. “We have a great mixture of veterans and I think one of our first goals is to establish a winning culture in our locker room. We need to create an on-court identity that the team can be proud of, so we can go out and give our best effort every night.”

This past season, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens (7-9) finished fifth in the south and then were downed by the Medicine Hat College Rattlers in a playoff division quarter-final.

Looking to the 2022/2023 season, the returning players and new recruits will all benefit from Harrison’s leadership.

One key returning student-athlete to the Queens is Amy Szymanek, who has been a leader on the team and within RDP Athletics. The team MVP and co-chair of the Polytechnic’s Student-Athletes Advisory Council (SAAC) is entering her fourth season. She led the Queens with 15.1 points per game last year. The Bachelor of Education student’s talent, leadership, work ethic, and impact on the game resulted in a 2022 ACAC Women’s Basketball Second All-Conference team selection. Sophie Melin (12.6 points per game), Lauren France (10.6), Heena Sidhu (7.7), and Keanna Richards (6.1) are also expected to return for the 2022/2023 season.

Harrison will immediately step into his head coaching duties at the Polytechnic.

More information about Queens Basketball, including the roster and schedule, will be available in the fall at: rdpolytechathletics.ca.

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RDPolytech Athletics

Sarcevic joins Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Soccer as Head Coach

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After an extensive search, Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics has named Ado Sarcevic the head coach of the Kings Soccer team.

Sarcevic brings an impressive playing and coaching resume to the Polytechnic, along with a familiarity of the RDP Soccer program and Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).

“We are thrilled to have Ado lead the Kings into the 2022/2023 season. He was a professional soccer player in Europe and former Yugoslavia, and has successfully coached at a variety of levels,” says Randy Stewart, Manager Athletics and Student Life. “Ado has previously assumed an assistant coach role with the Kings Soccer team for two years. We look forward to following the progression of the Kings as they strive to build upon last year’s second place regular season record in the south division and ACAC bronze medal.”

The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings Soccer team has evolved into one of the elite squads in the conference.

Along with winning hardware this past season, the Kings earned ACAC silver and placed sixth at nationals in 2019/2020, ranking as the top ACAC team in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The 2020/2021 season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Sarcevic has been an integral leader in growing soccer in central Alberta. He established the Red Deer Renegades, which provide competitive options for youth to develop and enhance their skills within Red Deer City Soccer Association (RDCSA). Sarcevic also served as Renegades Technical Director for a decade.

In addition, Sarcevic assumed the role of RDCSA General Manager and coached U12 to U18 squads, winning three U18 Alberta Championships with the Renegades. He also coached the Renegades Women’s team in the Alberta Major Soccer League and worked with central Alberta coaches to grow their expertise.

“I am very excited for this wonderful opportunity to become a member of Red Deer Polytechnic as Kings Soccer Head Coach,” says Sarcevic. “I’m looking forward to building exceptional soccer players, but most importantly, developing great citizens of our communities.”

Sarcevic will officially begin his coaching duties on May 2, 2022.

More information about Kings Soccer, including the roster and schedule, will be available in the fall at: rdpolytechathletics.ca.

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